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How do I use Greenhopper to manage developers across multiple projects?

Peter Cooper Jr. asked this question · 81 karma ·

We are currently using Jira 5.1.6 with GreenHopper 6.0.5. We have a lot of projects, probably about a dozen total but only a few that are actively worked on at a time, with the rest being there for occasional bugfixes or other tasks. The 4–5 developers in our company are likely to be working on a couple projects at once (some working on just one, some working on maintenance on several, and it somewhat varying who's working on what depending on the business priorities).

So, GreenHopper seems set up from a very project-centric view. I can set up a Rapid Scrum Board for a project, and make Sprints within it of work to do for that project. This can give the business a good view of work into that project. Potentially, one can also make a Board for all of the projects (since GreenHopper 6 added that), and make a kind of "global sprint" across everything. If we were to have this kind of global sprint, all of the project owners would need to work at once on figuring out what should get done over the next couple weeks, which might be workable, but seems a bit tricky and would require a lot of coordination.

What I think we want is some kind of "resource view" or something, so that project owners could set up their tasks in their sprints, but there's some sort of view for each developer to tell them what task they should be working on next no matter which project's sprint it's in, and some way for our manager to allocate our time across the projects. So, I might be scheduled to work, for example, 20 hours a week on project A, 10 on project B, and 10 on maintenance of other projects, and then project owners making sprints could see how much time they had allocated, and I as a developer would see some kind of unified view of my upcoming tasks, so that I would know what I should be working on next and what's coming soon. I don't know if that description is exactly what we want, but I think we want something along those lines, and it seems like we can't be the only place that wants some sort of project-based view as well as a resource-based view.

The thoughts I've had of how we might approach this from my exploration of GreenHopper so far are:

  1. Create those "global" sprints I mentioned, and work as a department at the beginning of each sprint to try to schedule what we'll all be doing. Projects can get a look at their particular piece of the sprint using a Quick Filter or somesuch, and we just have to deal with coordinating those sprints.
  2. Use the "Parallel Sprints" feature on an all-projects Board, and have each developer create their own sprints of the tasks they have coming up. This helps with getting a resource-based view, but is probably tough for projects to figure out status of things, and definitely feels like squeezing GreenHopper into a space that it really doesn't want to go.
  3. Create a board for each project of the things to be coming up for each project, so each project gets its own Sprints and we get the project-based view of things, and just have each developer track themselves which projects' sprints they should be getting tasks from. Basically, just GreenHopper isn't the tool for a resource-based view, so don't even bother, and trust our developers and our manager to look across all these projects for what tasks to work from rather than trying to do it all in one place.


None of those seem great, though I'm sure we could make do with any of them. But I keep on coming back to that it doesn't feel like we're doing something bizarre or unique to us, and we would have thought that since Jira/GreenHopper was an industry-standard agile tool that it'd be easier to use it for what we're trying to do. Are we doing something crazy? I think we'd be fine with changing our progress to use standard practices if there's a standard way of doing Agile across multiple projects out there. Is there some GreenHopper setting or report or something somewhere I've missed? Is there some other Jira plugin that we should be using instead of or in addition to GreenHopper? Do other teams out there use one of the above approaches and can give advice on whether or not it's a good idea?

Any help would be appreciated. Thank you.

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2 Answers:

Shaun Clowes [Atlassian] · 6,498 karma ·

Hi Peter,

This is an interesting question, thanks for being really explicit about the process you are using, it helps us really understand your problem and the options you've already considered.

You should definitely consider the approach mentioned by johndpatton. This could work in your situation though it does lead to the 'one big sprint' approach.

What you're asking for is reasonably simple, a project based view of the world so that product owners can work with their own backlogs and start their own sprints as well as a resource based view so that individual developers can see their work and execute it. The only sticking point is the 'what you should be working on next' problem, how do the product owners work together to decide that? Or do they only decide the priority inside their project and the developer decides from there?

Based on what you've said I think the best approach is to define one board for each project so that each PO can create their own sprints. In this board define quick filters for each of the developers that are involved in the project. The PO can then use these filters in plan mode to see how much work in a future sprint is assigned to each developer and check they haven't exceeded their <x> hour budget for that developer.

Then create a separate board for developers (using a filter like 'assignee = currentUser()'). This board will show any issues in the entire system assigned to the current user. It will automatically find the sprints defined in the project based boards and show them all at once. I'd also suggest creating swimlanes on this board for each project so that the developer can get a good overview of their work inside each project).

Regards,
Shaun

Adrijus Jakulevicius · 15 karma ·

Hi,

I am working in the same situation as the Peter - we have multiple projects, shorts projects, multitasking, and will need manage tasks priorities nad resourse assignments.

I created a global board with all tasks in open sprints. I used filter 'Sprint in openSprints()', but this filter don't shows task which are in canban style.

Do you have any suggestion how to modify filter?

Regards,

Adrijus

Peter Cooper Jr. · 81 karma ·

Thanks for your response. How to I get that "separate board for developers" that shows all the sprints at once? In Work view, it looks like it allows me to switch between the sprints with "Sprint Filters" to the left of the "Quick Filters", but I don't see how to see all the sprints at once.

Thanks.

Shaun Clowes [Atlassian] · 6,498 karma ·

Peter: When you first open the board none of those sprints should be in the visually 'depressed' state so you will see all sprints. When you click one it will become visually 'depressed' and you will see just that sprint, if you click it again the button will pop out and you'll now see all sprints at once again.

Adrijus: I'm not really sure what you're looking for and how you would like identify exactly which items to include in your board. You're probably best posting a new question with a complete breakdown of what you're looking for.

Thanks,
Shaun

·1 user liked this

Peter Cooper Jr. · 81 karma ·

Shaun: Thank you so much for your help. I never would have thought to click on the Sprint Filter I was already on. This is probably going to work pretty good for our needs. We appreciate the help.

John D Patton · 96 karma ·

There is this Blog posting by Nicholas Muldoon:

http://blogs.atlassian.com/2012/09/get-fancy-with-card-colours-in-greenhopper/

Based on that I set up a cross-project board with swimlanes for the developers and quick filters for each project.

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